My little princess is in Kindergartner. She absolutely loves school, her teacher and above all riding the school bus like a big girl. She still and will always be my baby, but I can’t believe how much she has grown. She has started to show her independence and character as an individual. On some afternoons I get to pick up my kids at Grandma’s house. I enjoy the afternoon rides home; our time in the car are always engaging, never dull. I love when Karymar tells me how she spent her day in school. She takes me through the day’s events, things she learned in the classroom, going over homework and she loves to do homework, bless her heart! I look at her through the rear view mirror and all I see is an outspoken individual wanting to express herself. I asked her “so, do you like school?” and she says “Papi I looooove school and my teacher and riding the big bus”. I beamed at her. She unexpectedly stops talking to entertain her little brother, updating me in whatever Ian Karlo is doing. She say to him something like “what you doing putting your fist in your mouth?” in perfect Spanglish while shaking his little hands. I cannot help but to laugh, sanitizer in hand always at the ready. I love when she tells me stories like her own version of the three little bears. How articulated, outgoing and talkative she is and when I asked her about what she had for lunch, she always tell the truth, whether she ate or not and eager to be the first to tell me when she was put on time out for being a chatter box. I can have a regular conversation with her just about any subject like I do with an adult. It is remarkable the way that she responds to things, or asks questions. Children are like a sponge and they must be engaged, exposed to the world so they can absorb it and make it their own. One time, I casually asked her about a situation I heard regarding a school friend she has in her classroom. Without hesitation she told me his name, Santiago, her 10-year-old, 8 feet tall, kindergarten classmate. I will make sure I check on her version to validate some facts. Being so brutally honest like her mother, telling the truth and tells me that Mami already knew about Santiago and I was like, “oh really”, interesting detail. Again, worth to investigate further. I told her I definitely would have to meet this Santiago as well as his parents. I ask her when I can meet Santiago or his parents and she said, “ Sure Papi, maybe after school but I don’t know his parents because I don’t talk to strangers”. I’m like give me a break she is only five. I cannot start to think of the things she will say or do in less than 10 short years. Her conversations amazes me and I love it because it is honest, funny and yes, unexpected.
It was late Sunday night; my wife just asked me to help taking the laundry to the Laundromat. I was underneath my office desk, flashlight in hand trying to figure out why my computer won’t turn on. The machine just stopped working couple days ago and I was in between the desktop and my laptop, googling on tech forums for an answer. I was feeling frustrated and in no mood to go anywhere but to fix the darn thing. I reluctantly accepted the task and give the computer issue a rest to do something else instead. I drove to the Laundromat in silence, still thinking in all the stuff that have been going on but more into reflecting what has happened and letting go of things I have no control over it. I put the clothes in the dryers absent minded and walked out over looking the homeless man that was sleeping on the floor inside the porch of the Laundromat. I did give him a second look. It was the first time I see a homeless man here, in our neighborhood for that matter. Here I am thinking about the little things that bothered me and here is this man sleeping on the floor with nothing more than the clothes he has on his back. Taking one last look, I drove off home. An hour later I came back to pick up the clothes and the man was just waking up. As I walked inside he said “how you doing man?” and I mumbled a “hey” without looking directly at him. I was thinking of what I was going to do tomorrow and where I was going to take the computer for repair not paying much attention of what was going on around me. Suddenly I saw a $5 dollar bill left inside of the dryer. Surely it was inside of one of my wife’s jeans and I picked it up and put it in my pocket without giving a second thought. Walking out to my car, with three loads of laundry, the homeless man said “ have a good one” . I, busy putting my stuff inside of the car didn’t reply but thought of him as being a nice person for what he just said. As I drove off a moment of clarity came over me. There was a reason for me being there at that place, late that night and the homeless man just waking up being right there where I was and then finding the $5 dollar bill. It all added up, at least in my mind it did; I stopped dead on my tracks, made a u-turn back to the Laundromat. As I pulled in the man graciously guided me to the parking spot from where he was seated. I got out and handed him the $5 dollar bill I found inside the dryer. He looked at me surprised and thank me. I drove away feeling like a better man, closing the day on a high note and thanking the man upstairs for his subtle yet ever present messages telling me that he is right there when I need him and if I just slow down and pay close attention to the present I will see the opportunities it has to offer. I came back home, relaxed, didn’t care for the computer for the rest of the night.
Yesterday, I was driving by the neighborhood and drove by the Laundromat. Guess whom I saw there? The same homeless man I found sleeping there couple nights before. I immediately thought of him, turned around and went home. During this week, there has been a lot cleaning and de-cluttering in the house so I took some clothes that though good I don’t need anymore, a pair of shoes and even some leftovers my Dad cooked early. I put it all in a bag, drove back to the Laundromat and gave it to the homeless man. I was feeling energized. He greeted me like he greets everybody else, not recognizing me from the last time we met. I handed him the bag with the goodies, he looked at it, beamed at me and said thank you. I left with a sense of joy, of appreciation, of doing a good deed for someone else. Later on when I drove by the Laundromat, I saw him talking with other people, my Dad’s food plate in one hand and I was beaming.
I bought my first motorcycle about 3 years ago at the Destination Daytona Harley Davidson in Ormond Beach, Fl. I travel a lot through this area and had stop in many occasions to “window shop” for motorcycles, always wishing to own one. One day I made my usual stop to make my usual rounds through the dealership without ever thinking that I was going to buy a motorcycle that day. I was somewhat ready to buy just didn’t know if the time was right. It never is right? or should I say it’s always right if the heart and the money is in it. I had some money saved to make a decent down payment, so I was open to make a deal if it was right. I was used to rent motorcycles every time I wanted to ride and did it for several months but I was never sure when I was ready to own. I like the Harley Road King, my bike of choice because its comfort, saddlebag and windshield. I saw new models and used models alike, playing the game of “what if” I buy one today. There was a feeling inside me that day telling me that it could be the right time to buy. The new models were expensive and as with any HD motorcycle it didn’t fit my humble budget. So I went upstairs to the used motorcycle area to find one that fits my budget. That’s when I saw her. My eyes were fixed on her and my mouth started to salivate. Sitting right next to an used Road King was a 2004 American IronHorse Texas Chopper and she was looking straight at me. She was hot looking with a cool two-tone paint job, featuring all the bells and whistles that I have seen in other expensive motorcycles and the best of all, a big fat tire in the rear. Lots of chrome, big and powerful engine with only 3,000 miles. “Oh baby I love you and I am taking you home today”. I didn’t give a second look to the Road King sitting next to this beauty and quickly got the salesperson to run the numbers for me. I told him “I am taking her home” and he said “right on man!” and so I did. The planets and starts were aligned in my favor, the cards were dealt, it was time to ride my chopper. I was so excited to ride her that I left my work truck at the parking lot of the dealership and rode my bike straight home to Orlando. Without any gear, no helmet or gloves, just riding in my work shorts and tennis shoes, I left my truck behind with an “I’ll pick you up later ” thought and hit the freeway home bound. Oh boy what a feeling is to ride. I know exactly how a dog feels when he sticks his head out of the window with a happy howl, ears flapping in the breeze, and a string of drool almost trailing back onto the windshield of the car behind. An all-around sense-sensation, pure bliss, ladies and gentlemen I have found my passion. When I got home I parked the chopper in the back and when my wife got home I gave it the surprise. I said “ta-da” and show it to her. She gave it a quick look and asked “where is my seat?” my chopper has no seat for passengers, “it’s a solo ride honey” I quipped. She did not laughed and I stammered a little and told her that we’ll figure something out but she didn’t look convinced, eyeing the chopper as a significant relationship treat. I didn’t say anything, like a good husband should, didn’t want to blurt out that that significant other just arrived and it is here to stay.
After much thinking and affection I had to give proper name to my chopper. Just saying that she is my significant other was slowly but surely getting me into hot waters, so I named her “ La Potra” which means female horse or mare in English very fitting for an American IronHorse chopper. I love to ride La Potra and during my first years I was looking for any excuse to ride it rained or shined. Quickly I learned that riding in the rain is not only dangerous but La Potra seems to be allergic to water. Since I bought her we have ridden 20,000 miles together to places that were unknown to me until then. Florida has some of the beautiful back roads and places to go that if it wasn’t for motorcycle riding, I would have never known about any of the cool places the State has to offer. With riding came people, meeting new friends, joining motorcycle groups for fun rides, riding to Bike Week, summer day riding State Road A1A along the Atlantic Ocean, riding through the back roads on the country side or the beach or even cold winter nights to bike- night events, I have good memories riding La Potra and I take good care of her so we can ride together for many miles to come on the open road.